Judge: Exxon can't stop climate change probes

ExxonMobil won't be able to stop state investigations into whether it misled investors and the public about its knowl...

Posted: Mar 30, 2018 10:57 AM
Updated: Mar 30, 2018 10:57 AM

ExxonMobil won't be able to stop state investigations into whether it misled investors and the public about its knowledge of climate change.

A federal judge in Manhattan on Thursday dismissed Exxon's lawsuit claiming officials in New York and Massachusetts were pursuing bad faith investigations in violation of the oil giant's constitutional rights.

US District Judge Valerie Caproni called Exxon's position "implausible."

"Exxon has asked two federal courts-first in Texas, now in New York-to stop state officials from conducting duly-authorized investigations into potential fraud," she wrote. "It has done so on the basis of extremely thin allegations and speculative inferences."

Exxon maintained in the lawsuit that the attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts worked behind the scenes with environmental groups, who were attempting to promote litigation against fossil fuel companies. It also said the state officials tried to squash Exxon's right to free speech and dissenting opinions on climate change.

Exxon did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the ruling.

In a statement, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who opened an investigation into Exxon's historical knowledge of climate change in 2015, praised the decision.

He said the lawsuit "wrongfully attempted to thwart a serious state law enforcement investigation into the company."

Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey are investigating whether Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, misled investors and the public about its knowledge of climate change and the potential effects that climate change may have on its business.

Harvard study: Exxon 'misled the public' on climate change for nearly 40 years

The attorneys general are looking into whether Exxon's past securities filings were misleading because they failed to disclose the company's internal projections regarding the potential costs of climate change and expected environmental regulations.

Exxon filed a lawsuit against the New York and Massachusetts officials in 2016, claiming the probes were part of a conspiracy to "silence and intimidate one side of the public policy debate on how to address climate change."

Exxon is also facing lawsuits from San Francisco, Oakland and other municipalities in California, which have demanded the company and its rivals pay billions of dollars to cover damage from looming sea level rise due to climate change.

Exxon gives up major climate change fight

Exxon argues that the California cities and counties have contradicted themselves by admitting in bond sales that climate change risks are unpredictable.

Federal law requires companies and governments to reveal risks to investors before selling securities like stock or muni bonds.

And in late 2017, after years of resisting, ExxonMobil agreed to reveal the risks it faces from climate change and the global crackdown on carbon emissions.

Exxon said the disclosures will include how the company is positioning for a lower-carbon future and how its business could be hurt by shifting energy demands.

--CNN's Jackie Wattles and Matt Egan contributed to this report

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
Lowndes5544120
Lafayette520598
Lamar505865
Washington4933125
Bolivar4126109
Oktibbeha408382
Panola386981
Pontotoc377460
Monroe3686110
Warren3685103
Marshall357170
Union356864
Pearl River3495106
Neshoba3490154
Leflore3118109
Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
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